Spirit Trap, UK/Romania, 2004

Spirit Trap is a 2004 British-Romanian supernatural horror feature film directed by David Smith from a screenplay by Phil O’Shea (Vampire Diary), with additional material by Rohan Candappq and Paul Finch. Produced by Susie Brooks-Smith, the Archangel Filmworks-Castel Film Romania movie stars Billie Piper, Luke Mably, Sam Troughton and Emma Catherwood.

Paul Hyett (Peripheral; Heretiks; Howl; The Seasoning House) handled the special effects makeup.

Plot:

When five young students move into an old, unoccupied mansion in North London, an inexplicable chain of events is set in motion as a mysterious spirit clock starts to tick once more. As each student has their darkest secret revealed, the boundaries between the real world and the afterlife begin to break down…

Reviews:

” …a ceaseless outpouring of stock characters, predictable jolts, and age-old plot conventions […] Subplots about drug trafficking, extra-sensory powers and bland old family secrets get lobbied across the dusty house as the performers struggle with their cobwebbed dialogue…” Scott Weinberg, DVD Talk

“The flat, dull photography is complimented by one of the most awful soundtracks ever written, courtesy of ex-Dire Straits man Guy Fletcher. I’ll be honest and say that I was keen to see whether Spirit Trap would provide just one decent scare, but it doesn’t. Avoid at all costs. Even if it’s free. Time is too precious for films as bad as this.” Eat My Brains

” …wobbly British horror […] takes far too long to get going. For the first hour there’s little more in the way of frights than a few scribbles from beyond the grave and a wet footprint, and even at its climax there’s too many shouty confrontations and not enough menace.” William Thomas, Empire

” …Billie Piper does her smiley Doctor Who thing; Luke Mably takes his top off and strops about; and Sam Troughton squeezes a trickle of juice out of his thankless expositionary role (“So, Billie, explain the plot to me again?”). Shame they have to fight their way through so many horror clichés.” Games Radar

“The last ten minutes are also relatively interesting, and even though the old ‘this house has a dark secret’ pish has been done umpteen times before, adding a racial element to things does at least make for a slightly different take on things. In general though, there’s really no point wasting your time with this.” That Was a Bit Mental

” …lumbering pace, yawn-making backstory and cloth-eared dialogue.” Time Out London

“The most frightening thing about the plot is how clichéd, messy and illogical it all is. Who on earth is it aimed at? The acting, writing and directing would actually be just perfect for a pre-Neighbours CBBC TV drama, but the grizzly nature of the story and the disturbing violence unquestionably belong post-watershed.” Jason Korshner, UK Screen

Spirit Trap is not so much a feature film, more a compilation video of horror movie clichés. Face in mirror, voice on telephone, ouija board, dream-catcher, overflowing baths, mysterious locked room, ‘exactly 100 years ago today’ – there’s even an angry mob with flaming torches! The actors, who include Doctor Who‘s grandson and a Russian Eurovision singer, acquit themselves well but the story is utter tosh from start to finish. The climax involves a prophecy that one of the housemates must die, despite the fact that one of them already did about ten minutes earlier.” MJ Simpson, Urban Terrors: New British Horror Cinema 1997 – 2008, Hemlock Books, 2012

Buy Urban TerrorsAmazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Choice dialogue:

Adele: “So what does it do? Horoscopes or something?”

Jenny: “It’s supposed to be a bridge between our world and the next. It’s a load of crap, really.”

Cast and characters:

  • Billie Piper … Jenny – Penny Dreadful TV series; Doctor Who TV series
  • Luke Mably … Tom – 28 Days Later
  • Sam Troughton … Nick – Slumber; The RitualAlien vs. Predator 
  • Emma Catherwood … Adele – The ReedsAgainst the Dark;
  • Alsou … Tina
  • Chiké Okonkwo … Edmund Joseph
  • Ovidiu Matesan … Zack
  • Kitt Smith … Sam
  • Miruna Biranu Chetu … Jenny’s Mother
  • Oxana Moravec … College Secretary
  • Gillian Scotney … College Student
  • Robert Goodman … Tramp – Dance of the Goblins; Ripper Street TV series; Doctor Who TV series
  • Colin Dent … Cabbie

Filming locations:

Pinewood Studios,
Primrose Hill, North London, England
Romania

Shooting took place in June and July 2004 and the completed movie was trade screened at the American Film Market (AFM) in November 2004.

Release:

Spirit Trap was released theatrically in the UK on 12 August 2005. It was released on DVD by Revolver Entertainment on 17 October 2005. At the time of writing, Spirit Trap is available on Amazon Instant Video.

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